Sunday, November 8, 2015

Braden Holtby Autograph Card

When I listed the best Canadian goalies of the moment yesterday, I deliberately left one guy out despite feeling that he's the country's best bet in the long run, 26-year-old Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.

He always had potential, though back in his draft year, in 2008, he was ranked behind Thomas McCollum (30th), Chet Pickard (18th), Jacob Markstrom (31st), Peter Delmas (61st), Harri Sateri (106th) and Anders Lindback (207th); Jake Allen (34th), Tyler Beskorowany (59th), Michael Hutchinson (77th), Marco Cousineau (83rd), and Jacob De Serres (84th) were also drafted before him, as the Caps used the Los Angeles Kings' 93rd-overall pick to select him.

He climbed the ranks one step at a time, first playing in the ECHL (making the All-Star Team), then was impressive enough in the AHL to earn a call-up with the Caps during which he was good enough to earn First Star Of The Week honors in March 2011, before being sent back to the Hershey Bears.

As is the case with most young goalies, it took him a while to find consistency, and one could argue he only really found it last year, when he finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting and 18th for the Hart. The Caps were convinced enough to give him a $6M salary for the next five years, though.

So, in keeping with the theme, here's a card of his from a relatively recent trade (a month or so at a trade show) wearing Team Canada's white uniform, from Upper Deck's 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee set (card #TCS-BH of the Team Canada Signatures sub-set):
Ironically, the only time he's ever worn the maple leaf in an international competition was at the U-18s in 2006-07, where he let in 2 goals in half a period, good for a 13.58 GAA and .833 save percentage...

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